One week out from the longest race I have EVER run and I feel pretty good. My left ankle is swollen like woah, and I have the most horrific case of poison ivy but aside from that...I feel good. And THAT is good. :) I am BEING good and taking my time getting back up to my prior mileage...given what I was dealing with before the race, I figure I need to be careful and so I am. I am giving myself at least 2 weeks of easy, low mileage(for me, so betw 5-8m) runs. I saw my Immunologist this week as well and he was quite impressed :) He does believe, though, that I did indeed have a classic herx and wants me to go right back on the abx and just muddle through. Last year when I started the abx, I had the same reaction, and then went on to have 6-8mo of the best health I have had in 5 years. I cannot deny that...so I will suck it up now, when I have nothing coming up, knowing I will be long over this before the next race on tap. I will continue doing everything else I have been doing as it seems to be working,
Its so interesting, and actually quite humorous the way Ultras play out....I was struggling very early on, and had pretty much decided that 50k was my new distance of choice. Maybe an occasional 50 miler. This 100 mile stuff is for the birds. I had other goals, I wanted to run through the suck(done) I wanted to incorporate walk/run, I wanted my gut to behave...I met those goals with flying colors. I got through 75 miles, I ran for 24 hours...and I learned a LOT. Mostly I learned I am FAR stronger than I ever realized and I CAN do whatever I set my mind to.
That being said...
Without my dearest, most badass friend ever, I never would have made it through those first 50 miles. There is something to be said for someone knowing you inside and out, good and bad, logical and crazy parts...when you know someone THAT well, they can probably get you through anything...and she did. She knew what to say to talk me off the ledge(several times) could relate on many levels, and could absolutely sympathize with my medical shit...And there are very few people I can spend 24 solid hours with...mostly because THEY get sick of ME! lol ;) But, we spent that whole time and would have spent more if the cards stacked up right...but they don't always, and that day was just not meant to go past 24 hours for us as a team. I am SO incredibly full of gratitude for having her with me, and having her in my life...she helped me through some dark places last friday night and without realizing it, she is WHY I had the strength to meet my goal of running through the suck. :)
Then there was my pacer.
A guy who I know from our running club, never have run with him, ever...only in passing at other races. He volunteered to pace me with his wife(who I never had the pleasure of running with...maybe July? ;)) I jumped at the chance to secure a pacer as I knew I would need one and wanted to be sure I had all my bases covered *in case*...and I am glad I did. Michelle got me through that first 50 miles. When I was finishing that lap and knew I would not finish within the cut-off bc I could not go fatser in the mud and did not want to face another night out there...I still HAD to do one more lap. I HAD to. For me- because so much of who I am is tied up in running and being a *runner*...I have been a runner over half my life...I don't know how NOT to be one, it is literally part of my identity AND I was NOT going to let this damn disease beat me one more effing time... for my kids- I needed to show them I did not give up because things got hard, for the people who believed in me and were rooting for me to finish, Enter Michael. He literally bounced into my space, ready to go. His enthusiasm was AMAZING and exactly what I needed. He allowed me to *be* wherever I was, encouraged me to run, and was a constant cheerleader when all I wanted to do was be DONE. He GOT me to 75 miles. I really do not know if I would have made it that far. Emotionally, this was one of THE hardest races I have ever run. There was just so...much. So much emotion that I have not even fully processed and he certainly did NOT know what he was getting himself into, lol. But let me tell you....I would not have wanted to be alone that last lap and am SO happy and grateful he was there with me. (I am also very grateful he pulled me out of the shoe-sucking mud puddle I got stuck in...otherwise I would still be there....)
So...I do not see this as a DNF in the traditional sense. This race was a HUGE win for *me* personally, now that I am looking back. I am very uch looking forward to continuing on my path of healing and weight training, running and training...and my next 100 miler in October where I will have the absolute gut-busting JOY of running along side(not literally as they are both faster than me) 2 people that are just...awesome. :) I really cannot wait for that opportunity...as well as the journey along the way. :)